The Brown Rat has only been present in the UK since early in the 18th century.
Since then, it has replaced the black rat as the most common species of rat in the country. And although Ames Group are a pest control firm from Birmingham, we’ve seen our fair share of brown rats.
Brown rats are larger in comparison to the other UK species of rodents. Fully grown adults can weight up to 300 grams – nothing on the weight of a fully grown capybara however.
Brown rats are nocturnal animals, which means that they are effective during the night. Consequently, they do not have very well-developed vision and rely on their sense of touch to find their way around their surroundings, using the sensitive hairs that cover their body.
They also have a well-developed memory, enabling them to remember the obstacles within their environment and move around them. Unlike house mice, they’re naturally wary animals and will treat any new object they find with suspicion, taking days, or even weeks to become comfortable with it. This behaviour is often termed ‘new-object reaction’ or ‘neophobia‘.
They Eat… A Lot!
They demonstrate a predictable feeding behaviour, returning to the same site each night to feed from a food source that they are familiar wit. They will also carry food away and horde it. Their food preferences may vary depending on their habitat, and rats infesting refuse
tips and sewers will feed on a mixture of foods of both animal vegetable origin. They consume about 10% of their own body weight every night!
Brown Rats always need to have access to free-standing water, they need to drink around 60 millilitres during their periods of activity. While they are active, Brown Rats will urinate constantly, and produce around 40 droppings every 24 hours.
Their Teeth Never Stop Growing
Like all rodents, Brown Rats have incisor teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives. To compensate for this, they spend a significant part of their waking time gnawing, not just on food, but also on inedible materials, such as wooden supports, electrical cables and pipes. Damage to property with the inevitable consequences for business and livelihoods are a very real risk when infestations are present.
Brown Rats are classed as ‘commensal rodents‘ meaning they will live in close proximity to people, and can be found both indoors and outdoors in urban areas. They can be found in farms, sewers and sometimes under your floorboards!
They Spread Disease
It is not surprising therefore, that they are able to spread disease. Most of the harmful microorganisms carried by rodents will be a reflection of the environment of which they live. Rats have been proven to carry bacteria such as salmonella, listeria and other microorganism responsible for diseases such as cryptosporidium.
They have been known to be responsible for plague outbreaks, most notably The Black Plague, which wiped out 1.5 million people out of an estimated total of 4 million. This was caused by fleas taking blood from rats and people for carrying a bacteria in their urine responsible for the cause of Weil’s disease in humans. About 30% o f the rats in the UK are thought to carry this bacteria which can be fatal in some circumstances.
Many of the brown rats infestations found in urban areas are associated with drains. From here, they are able to gain access to buildings where they can then produce and cause damage, as well as contaminate food and other materials with droppings and urine. From there, can come the spread of disease, financial loss, damage to reputations and the feeling of anxiety to home-owners and employers.
Rats are a nuisance, they do spread disease and they can severely impact your life if they are not caught and disposed of properly. AMES only specialise in the most efficient rodent disposal tactics and we know full well the aggregation these little cretins can cause.
5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Rats
Lighten up, rats aren’t all bad… for the most part anyway. They are actually very interesting creatures and have many weird, wonderful and sometimes disturbing facts surrounding them.
1. New York May Have the Biggest Rat Infestation in the World
After NYC was awarded this title, they have declared a war on rats. In fact, they’ve budgeted more than $500million to an anti-rat program.
2. Rats Can Swim Up Your Toilet
It’s a rare occurrence, but a frightening reality. Rats can get lost in the pipes and tread water for days, seeking a way out. If you ever counter one in your toilet, just know that it’s very tired from swimming and probably won’t be aggressive.
But, still, don’t touch it.
3. There is a Rat Island
Yes, there is a rat island off the coast of Alaska and it used to be full of rats. In 1780 a Japanese boat shipwrecked there and a few rats that were on board quickly overran the native species. Including some endangered birds like the Bald Eagle! In 2010 the US Fish and Wildlife service eradicated the rats on Rat Island. Now, the name is just ironic.
4. A Rat’s Front Teeth can Grow 5″ in a Year
That’s why they’re always gnawing on things to grind them down as previously mentioned. The teeth can grow fast or slow depending on the rat’s diet, and rat’s don’t get cavities because they just get worn away as the teeth grow. So no dental bills.
5. Rats Can Laugh and Dream
Dr. Jaak Panksepp from Washington State University says that
At MIT, scientist say that their lab rats were dreaming of running a maze. They recognised the same brain wave in sleeping rats that covered in wakeful rats that are running a maze!
Do you know any fun facts about rats? Or anything about rats that we might find interesting? Let us know in the comments below!